Once upon a time, fire led our ancestors into the circle. It made sense to put the fire in the center and to gather around it. A circle defined physical space by creating a rim with a common sense of sustenance lighting up the center. These ancestors needed the circle for survival - food, warmth, defense - and they discovered that the circle could help design social order.
- From the book, The Circle Way, A Leader in Every Chair
We have always known that the circle is a natural way to gather for conversations. Circle is democratic space where we can look each other in the eye, lean in and listen, and include all voices with a sense of equality. The practice of circle often leads to more creative options, wiser decisions, clearer actions.
The Circle Way is a lightly formalized, lightly facilitated social structure that allows people to use circle process in a wide range of settings.
More than twenty years ago, pioneering authors and teachers, Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea noticed that putting people in circle created a dynamic learning field, no matter what the topic. They began to study the power of circle as a social form, and to inquire how circle might be re-introduced into mainstream settings. Their understanding of the components that help deepen a circle conversation grew and they presented it to the world in several books, booklets, and global teaching career. Their co-authored book, The Circle Way: A leader in Every Chair, is their culminating distillation of this journey.
Through their business, PeerSpirit, Inc. located in Washington State in the USA, they have trained thousands of practitioners and clients how to hold conversations using The Circle Way. This community of practice has grown around the world.
In recent years, Ann and Christina have begun a process to entrust the work of teaching into the next generation of The Circle Way practitioners. This website has emerged out of that community of practice. We are a loosely affiliated collective holding our relearning of circle, practicing it professionally and personally, and constantly welcoming new people to join the circle.
In response to the complexity of our times, our new focus is to grow a diverse inter-generational community of circle practitioners who work to promote racial, gender, ethnic, economic and environmental justice in our organizations and communities. We are becoming a circle incubator designed to accelerate the growth and success of circle practices through an array of support resources and services that includes grants, coaching, learning opportunities and networking connections.